Hi guys, this is my first travel experience in Turkey. Starting my trip from Jakarta to Istanbul by Turkish Airline at 21.30 PM and arrive on Istanbul at 05.55 AM. For Indonesian passport, Turkey Visa is very easy. I just need to pay around USD 25 for on arrival visa.
On the first day arriving at Istanbul, visiting Hagia Sophia is become my priority. I’ve been heard this place from my friend who study and live there, so when I have chance to visit Istanbul, I came to this place. I choose to stay in Best Point Hotel Old city which only 600 meters from Hagia Sophia, so that I could walk.
Arriving in front on Hagia Sophia, my friend who live in Istanbul, Budi, wait me and already buy me entrance ticket to Hagia Sophia. The price is around 40 TL (Turkey Lira) and there are so many tour guides around Hagia Sophia, you could spend around 35 TL but I already have my own tour guide, for free. LOL.
Hagia Sophia Open at 09.00 AM and close at 07.00 PM. Budi take me around this beautiful place while telling me the story of this place.
Mostly Turk called this building as Aya Sofya. On Bizantium era, this place was a church and the centre of culture & knowledge, but after conquest by Utsmaniyah Emperor on 1453, the function of this place is changing become a mosque and centre of Islamic culture. All of the Christian ornament and statues are replaced become Islamic ornaments, calligraphy and build 4 minarets. On 1935, after Turkey become a Republic, the first Presiden Mustafa Kemal Ataturk changed this building into a museum. They returned all of the paints and wallpaper which cover all the roof. There are The Virgin Mary’s painting which flanked by calligraphy of Allah & Muhammad.
After I heard a short story of this building from Budi, I feel amazed. What an extraordinary building. I can’t stop myself to see the interior. Very pretty!!
When in Hagia Sophia, I look around and see the roof as long as I can. I really admired every detail in this museum.
After seeing everything in this museum, I could took one big point from the story, even the differences could make beauty and Hagia Sophia proved that.
Tired of exploring, Budi took me for lunch in one of cafe near Hagia Sophia before continue to the next destination. We go to Rumist Cafe for enjoying the most popular meal in Turkey, Kebab.
Watch this video for more information:
Video by: Rick Steves' Europe
If you are going to this museum, you are allowed to bring camera but you are not allowed to bring tripod. So, you have to left your tripod on entrance. Mostly, this museum is using Turkish language but you don't have to worry because you can find many local guide in front of this building who will take you around this building. But, lucky me because I already have my own guide for free :)